AFRICANGLOBE – Rooms in luxury hotels are reliably comfortable, but the cookie-cutter spread of marble-clad bathrooms and safe, conformist interiors found in high-end properties around the world mean they can often be indistinct. Not so the newly unveiled Manta Underwater Room located off Pemba Island in Zanzibar which, as the name suggests, is located some 13ft (four metres) beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean.
Part of the otherwise land-based Manta Resort, the underwater residence functions as a miniature private island. Guests sleep in a glass-walled, underwater chamber while, above sea level, two additional levels finished in local hardwood provide space for leisure and recreation.
The landing deck includes a lounge and bathroom; accessed by ladder, the roof is a sunbathing terrace during the day and a stargazing spot at night. The lack of light pollution means would-be astronomers can enjoy exceptional night-time views.
Those wishing to observe passing sea life are likely to see shoals of reef fish drift past during the day and, at night, when underwater spotlights beneath each window burst into action, more reticent creatures, such as squid and octopus emerge.
Bat and trumpet fish have also sought to elude predators by settling by the structure, while coral is developing around the base of the room and its anchoring lines.
While the room could be considered unique, variants of the design exist elsewhere. Its development was inspired by the Utter Inn which stands in a lake east of Stockholm, while underwater suites at Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai look out at the resort’s Ambassador Lagoon, a vast aquarium.
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, meanwhile, features an underwater restaurant and Huvafen Fushi, also in the Maldives, features underwater spa rooms.
More generally, Manta Underwater Room is one of a number of hotel rooms that distinguish themselves by incorporating unusual design features. Opening this month, the Kiss Room in Paris is a minute space clad in 1,000 uniform mirrors, while a number of properties in Africa and the Middle East capitalise on their warm climate by offering outdoor bedrooms.
Africa specialist Safari Consultants is offering a package which includes one night in the Manta Underwater Room alongside three additional nights in the Manta Resort, one night at Serena Inn in Stone Town, Zanzibar, and four nights in Serian Camp in Kenya, incorporating one or two nights in the camp’s Nest Room, found in an Elephant Pepper tree. It costs from £5,760pp, based on two sharing, and including all flights and transfers.